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The Pros and Cons of Clean Air Zones

The Pros and Cons of Clean Air Zones

Clean Air Zones, also known as CAZs, are areas of controlled traffic imposed by local authorities in an attempt to improve air quality. Most commonly found in city centres, CAZs were first proposed in 2015 but only came into force this year. The UK government’s target of a near “net zero” emissions rate by 2050 is thought to be reached with the addition of these new tariffed zones.

 

The restrictions enforced in Clean Air Zones will be applied not only to non-compliant HGVs but also buses, taxis and most recently, private vehicles. This recent announcement came as a shock to many residents living and working in areas where CAZs have been proposed, but for logistics businesses, we have known for a long time that these restrictions will have an effect on our industry.

 

Cleaner air is a universally desired outcome, with global warming at a rapid rate, there is no contest that creating an eco-friendly environment is something we should all strive towards. A huge reduction in road emissions is not just a pipe dream but the question has to be asked, are Clean Air Zones the best way to approach this?

 

PROS:

Certain Vehicles Are Exempt from Fees

Compliant vehicles will remain able to enter these zones free of charge; for HGV’s this includes Euro 6 engines, which are defined by all vehicles with 14 plate or newer. Buses and coaches that meet Euro VI emission standards, as well as cars, vans and taxis that meet Euro 6 (for diesel engines) or Euro 4 (for petrol engines) are also exempt, that’s as well as any ultra-low emission vehicles with a significate zero-emission range.

 

Good Deterrents

Clean Air Zones will promptly work as a deterrent for many non-essential journeys, resulting in some drivers avoiding major areas that are suffering from high emissions and major build-up. This could lessen congestion in city centres and leave it open for modes of public transport to run more efficiently.

 

Apparent Health Benefits

Studies of low emission zones in Germany found significant reductions in particulate matter (PM), which are tiny particles in the air that can get into the lungs and cause health problems. Continued exposure to this form of pollution as it only increases without the introduction of CAZ restrictions, could see a rise in the number of poor health cases related to pollutants.

 

CONS:

Financial Implications on The Logistics Industry

HGV’s are set to face steep fees ranging from £50-£100 per day in some cities. The safe transport of goods across the globe is only possible with the successful operation of the logistics industry. Without HGV drivers, the world we’re used to would look rather different. These charges could cripple many businesses which would seriously impact the logistics industry and its revenues. This could lead to the distributions of goods being delayed, and services impacted negatively.

 

Contributing to Out-Of-City Traffic

Cities with operating CAZs may find their emissions problem worsens with the imposed restrictions. To avoid paying the new tariffs many commuters and hauliers may choose alternative routes, accumulating more miles and producing more emissions in turn. Discouraging drivers from the area is likely to have an effect on the situation outside of the zone, creating more out-of-city traffic and increasing fuel consumption with the extra miles covered in order to avoid the CAZ.

 

Increased Volume of Vehicles on the Road

With HGVs facing heavy charges, and some cities proposing complete bans/time restrictions, the haulage industry may have to rethink its delivery strategy. The largest lorry can carry the load of 20 vans but unable to enter the city, HGV drivers may have to downsize in order to complete deliveries. This will end up increasing the volume of vehicles on the road, therefore adding to congestion and emissions.

 

Surely these knock on effects are counterintuitive?

 

What do you think, are Clean Air Zones the way forward or a step back? Let us know your thoughts over on our Twitter page.

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Screenshot 2020-10-05 at 13.00.52

The Effect Of The Fuel Duty Rise On The Economic Recovery Of The Logistics Industry

This autumn, during the budget review, it is rumoured that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering ending the current freeze on fuel tax, FleetNews reports. This could see fuel duty increase as much as 5p, resulting in a spike in overall costs per litre. It’s thought that this move is being considered following the Coronavirus crisis, and the impact the pandemic has had on the British economy. However, ending the freeze on fuel duty would bring harsh implications for the logistics industry, which is already in a recovery period following the hard times of this year.

As such, the organisation FairFuelUK which is backed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Logistics UK (formerly FTA), has said it will “fight tooth and nail” against these plans.

The end to the fuel duty freeze would undoubtably result in a rise in this type of tax, and to no limit too. Below, we’ll discuss what that could mean for the logistics industry, and how it might impact the sector’s economic recovery that follows the Covid-19 pandemic.

What Was The Impact Of Covid-19 On The Logistics Industry?

Covid-19 brought down tough times on most businesses in the UK, logistics was not exempt from that.

Following the shutdown of restaurants, some retail stores and other entertainment facilities, there was a big disruption to the supply chain. According to TouchStar, at the end of March, 76 per cent of people surveyed in the logistics sector said they’d experienced a general downturn in business. By 3rd April, 69.5 per cent of companies asked had scaled back or suspended operations.

However, logistics was one of the businesses that did keep ticking through the pandemic to a certain degree. Drivers are amongst our key workers, and the country relied on logistics operators to keep shop shelves full, as well as to transport crucial medical supplies.

Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, many are now reporting normal supply chain performance, TouchStar reports. Nevertheless, lasting damage is evident and the logistics industry is still in a recovery phase of sorts.

What Could A Fuel Duty Rise Mean For The Sector?

A lift on the fuel duty freeze would mean this tax could rise without limits. Meaning that the cost per litre of petrol and diesel, will more than likely increase, shortening profit margins for logistics providers and raising expenditure. With the sector already in recovery, an implication of this magnitude could result in:

  • Issues with logistics recruitment and closing the skills gap
  • Longer time taken for sector recovery
  • Less budget for innovation within the sector
  • Disrupted supply chains due to less resource available
  • Logistics providers being unable to operate at normal capacity
  • Service prices may have to increase to recuperate losses

Despite the consideration of higher tariffs, UK drivers are still the most taxed in the world when it comes to fuel, according to FairFuelUK. They also predict that had the fuel duty escalation continued as planned from 2011 onwards (as opposed to being frozen), then fuel duty today could be as high as 83.33p per litre rather than 57.95p per litre, a 43.8% increase. This poses a serious expense not only to logistics companies, but household drivers too.

Currently, rates are capped at 57.95 pence per litre for petrol and diesel but lifting the freeze could see this figure rise by as much as 5p.

An increase of this magnitude could seriously impact the recovery of the logistics industry following months of uncertainty. Higher fuel costs, meaning the price per job increases and either profit margins get lower, or prices have to increase. Either outcome is not favourable for logistics providers and their clients, this is why the industry must rally behind the likes of FairFuelUK, who are imploring the Government to consider the logistics sector, and what the end of the freeze on fuel tax could mean for it.

What Happens If Fuel Duty Remains Frozen?

A freeze will give the industry the chance it needs to get back on track, and to continue servicing the country in the way that it did post, and even during the national lockdown. What are your thoughts? You can interact with us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and remember you can engage with FairFuelUK to help to urge the chancellor to continue with the fuel duty freeze this autumn.

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Border Operating Model EU UK

What Impact Will The Border Operating Model Have On The UK Supply Chain?

Last month, we talked about how the lack of Brexit attention might impact the logistics industry, today we are taking a deeper look into the Government’s latest update for the UK-EU borders which will significantly impact the logistics industry: The Border Operating Model.

It has certainly been a strange time, over the last few months. The Coronavirus pandemic came as a shock to everybody, and as such, all attention has been focused on handling this crisis. Perhaps inevitably as a result of this, there has been less attention on Brexit, and reaching an agreement by 31st December 2020, the end of the transition period.

One sector directly affected by this is logistics. To afford the industry extra time to make necessary arrangements, the UK Government has introduced new border controls in three stages up until 1st July 2021. This is known as the Border Operating Model.

What Is The Border Operating Model?

The Border Operating Model is a 206-page document that was released on Monday 13th July 2020. It covers the new customs processes that will be phased in over a six-month period, with the border to be fully operational from 1st July 2021. At the end of the transition period later this year, exports from the UK to Europe will face customs checks, including changes to VAT rules, animal and plant health checks, as well as safety and security declarations. As reported by the Financial Times, the nature of these checks will depend on the outcome of EU-UK negotiations.

According to the Handy Shipping Guide, logistics groups have reacted rapidly to these latest UK government plans. The reaction was largely a “metaphorical pat on the head rather than a slap on the back” and when a freight trade organisation says it is ‘keeping its fingers crossed’, the Handy Shipping Guide have argued that this “hardly shouts inspired confidence.”

A sweeping mood across the logistics industry suggests that there is a concern as to whether the measurements required could be put in place in time to secure a smooth transition. There is also still a general interest in getting a favourable deal secured with the EU. Head of International Policy at the FTA, Alex Veitch, commented, “Logistics as an industry is highly flexible and can adapt quickly to changing circumstances, as we have seen throughout the Covid-19 crisis, but nevertheless it is good to have confirmation of a large proportion of the detail of how goods are expected to move between the UK and EU from the start of next year.

”We are advising our members to do all they can to get Brexit ready, for example adapting their systems to produce the right border documentation, working with customers to understand the requirements for each party in the supply chain, and enrolling in trusted trader schemes like CTC Transit. These will all be needed whether or not the UK government strikes a deal with the EU.

“However, logistics businesses are also urging the government to continue pursuing a deal with their EU counterparts as an urgent priority. This will to make it simpler to trade, ensure trucks and planes from the UK have access to the EU, and minimise economic disruption. Logistics is committed to making the new relationship with the EU work, we now need the government to do the same and strike a deal.”

What Impact Will The Border Operating Model Have On The UK Supply Chain & Logistics Industry?

In an article by the Financial Times, it was suggested that the additional checks at the end of the UK’s transition period could cost up to £7bn. There is a general consensus in the logistics industry that it would be favourable to reach a deal by the end of the transition period.

In May, Sarah Laouadi, European Policy Manager at FTA, stressed the importance of this: “With so little time left before both sides are due to take stock of the negotiations and assess whether a deal can be finalised within the Brexit deadlines, it is now imperative that progress is made.

“The EU and UK have a highly interdependent supply chain, which affects so many businesses on both side of the Channel, and our members are keen that this week’s negotiations ensure that the work that is done by so many businesses to trade effectively can continue without interruption.”

The new Border Operating Model gives some clarity to borders and how they will work after 31st December, but even with a phased transition, there are still a number of issues to think about such as logistics recruitment, finding staff qualified and experienced in customs procedures, as well as the lack of time to train new drivers in these areas.

Also, without new technology, there is also the worry that there could be congestion at the border and severe delays, according to BIFA director general Robert Keen.

There are mixed feelings to be had over the new Border Operating Model. Positives include having more clarity and direction in 2021, as well as the partnering news that there would be a further £750m investment to fund new infrastructure, jobs and technology at the GB-EU border to help support any snagging issues. However, the issues remain to be that it could be more favourable to reach an agreement deal by the end of the transition period, so that any concerns from the logistics industry are dealt with in due time.

Have your say by tweeting us at @DriversDirect.

Drivers Direct specialises in the recruitment and placement of temporary and permanent drivers of all classes. We pride ourselves on our ability to work closely with both our clients and applicants to ensure that we provide a quality service to both. You can find out more by getting in touch.

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Brexit trade deal logistics

Brexit & Logistics – What Impact Will A Lack of Attention Have On The Industry?

Since our exit from the EU just under 6 months ago, the focus has shifted away from Brexit over the past few months, with the outbreak of Coronavirus dramatically changing life as we know it.

Covid-19 has impacted the logistics industry in more ways than one, with one being a considerable delay in negotiation talks over reaching a trade deal. With most Government attention channelled into combating the spread of the virus, since Britain left the EU earlier this year, efforts of reaching an exit agreement have been somewhat delayed.

So, what impact will the pandemic have on the relationship between Brexit and the transport and logistics industry? 

The Current Brexit Situation

The current situation, as reported by the BBC, is that deals with 19 countries are expected to roll over until the end of the transition period (at the end of this year). These 19 countries account for around 8% of total UK trade. The other 92%, is still yet to be negotiated.

It has been argued that it is beneficial for both UK, and European countries, to come to a free trade agreement – as no side wants tariffs or quotas. However, it is now up to the governing bodies of each country to negotiate a fair deal with the UK.

Before the outbreak of Coronavirus, both Government and media attention was very much focused on Brexit. We have but a short period to decide on exit agreements, and it can be presumed that this year’s efforts would have been primarily focused on that. Since the country has been dealing with Covid-19, however, attention has shifted onto dealing with this national health crisis and Brexit has moved lower on the list of priorities.

Why Do We Need To Reach A Trade Deal?

1st June saw the latest round of Brexit negotiations underway. It was during this time that Sarah Laouadi, European Policy Manager at FTA urged the UK to progress:

“It is of paramount importance that progress is made now towards the creation of a trade agreement that’s acceptable to both parties.

The UK has outlined its proposed free trade agreement, which the EU has had time to consider. On behalf of those responsible for manufacturing and moving goods on both sides of the border, we are urging both sides to approach next week’s round of discussions in an open and welcoming manner, to ensure that progress can be made on reaching a consensus that benefits both sides. 

With so little time left before both sides are due to take stock of the negotiations and assess whether a deal can be finalised within the Brexit deadlines, it is now imperative that progress is made at the talks. The EU and UK have a highly interdependent supply chain, which affects so many businesses on both side of the Channel, and our members are keen that this week’s negotiations ensure that the work that is done by so many businesses to trade effectively can continue without interruption.”

It can be said from this that it is important to not only the logistics sector, but other industries too, that some sort of trade deal is agreed to protect the UK/EU supply chain.

Faced with a Brexit scenario where no deals are ironed out, possible threats to logistics could include:

  • Reduced trade
  • Stricter border control & tariffs
  • Changes to haulier regulations
  • Immigration control

This outcome could have a knock-on effect on haulier operations, but also if there is stricter immigration control, the infamous logistics skills gap may begin to widen even more. We can help to bridge this gap by changing perceptions and encouraging young talent into the sector, as well as showcasing what a career in logistics has to offer.

There are uncertainties for sure, and whether a deal is reached or not, we don’t doubt that the logistics industry will continue to be a fundamental service that sees the smooth running of day to day life. Even with the country gripped with an international health crisis, our logistics workers have still been putting themselves on the front line to keep shops full, transport medical goods and more. There will always be a need for logistics.

What Impact May A Lack Of Attention Have?

With efforts primarily focused on containing Coronavirus, there is every chance that it may take longer to come to an agreement with the EU; that’s if a deal is even negotiated at all.

In fact, EU Diplomats have even branded it “impossible” to reach a UK-EU trade deal with tariffs in just 6 months; something that was originally suggested to be plausible.

The focus on Brexit is, of course, being used for a cause, well worthy of Government time, but speaking for the Transport & Logistics industry, we would also urge the UK to endeavour to reach a solution that protects our sector.

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International Women's Day with Drivers Direct

International Women’s Day with Drivers Direct

For International Women’s Day this year, we wanted to take the opportunity to show our appreciation for some of the women that work at a selection of our branches.  We talked to them about their careers, the women who inspire them the most and everything in between.

  • What is your job title at Drivers Direct and in what region do you work?

Chrissie Lee: Branch Manager in West Yorkshire

Zoe Parks: Regional Operations Director in the South

Jessica Beecham: Branch Manager in Wales

 

  • How did you come to work in the logistics/recruitment industry? 

Chrissie: I started working as a Recruitment Consultant in the industrial sector and when I was looking for a new role, my current manager approached me and invited me to meet with him about a new Recruitment Consultant role on the driving desk. I was then offered the job and have never looked back.

Zoe: Purely by accident, I worked in commercial recruitment in London and re-located to the South coast and fell into a job as a Branch Manager for another agency that was opening a new logistics and transport branch in Poole.  Before working in commercial recruitment, I was an Account Manager for Clinique in London and fancied a change, so I went and registered with Reed Employment for reception jobs and they offered me a job as a Trainee Recruitment Consultant.

Jessica: I have always had an interest in the transport sector and a good friend of mine was working in driving recruitment at a time where I was hunting for my perfect long term career. The more she discussed her job role, the more I became interested and the passion to take on something new became more and more desirable. Helping others has always been something that I wanted to be involved with and therefore driving recruitment just seemed to be the perfect match for my interests.

 

  • How has your background moulded / influenced your work with Drivers Direct? 

Chrissie: Within the driving industry, every day I speak with people from different backgrounds and growing up, I was taught to be respectful of everybody and so this is something I bring in to my working life too.

Zoe: Dealing with people and managing staff previously helped massively.

Jessica: I previously worked as a retail manager before joining Drivers Direct. I believe this gave me the experience and skills required for this job as it was a forever changing environment where daily challenges constantly varied. This taught me how to diplomatically deal with challenging individuals which has become a beneficial and invaluable skill that I generally use day to day. Relationship building has always been a strength of mine and the ones I have with my client have all been built on trust, hard work and honesty. I make the effort to know each individual client’s requirements to ensure longevity between us.

 

  • Do you have any advice to other women who might be looking to venture into the world of logistics and recruitment?

Chrissie: If it’s an industry where a woman would like to work, I’d say go for it, there is absolutely nothing stopping you or any reason to hold back from pursuing a career in the world of logistics and recruitment! I’m speaking with more female Transport Managers now than I was 10 years.

Zoe: Go for it, Transport and Logistics is for everyone and it’s a great environment to work in and is definitely my most preferred sector …

Jessica: Logistics has always been a very male-dominated environment which has made me even more determined to be the best in my field. There is a stigma around women in transport which we all need to abolish by empowering each other to take the plunge and join an industry that you wouldn’t generally feel associated with. There is nothing I would love to see more than more women HGV drivers on the road. Our skills and input in the industry are as of just as much value.

 

  • What woman inspires you the most?

Chrissie: My mum will always be my inspiration but then Emily Pankhurst won women the right to vote in 1918.

Zoe: My mother, she has always been incredibly hardworking, loyal and had the most amazing work ethic.

Jessica: Undoubtedly my mother, she has always been my inspiration to succeed. Growing up in an all-female household with my mother and sister, she has taught us very much how to be independent, strong and to build a future for ourselves. Whenever I do something in life, she will always say ‘you can do better than that’ and push me past boundaries that I don’t know exist half of the time. She will never allow me to just settle unless I have given something 100% and without her pushing me along the way, I wouldn’t be where I am now at such a young age.

 

  • What have you learned / changed on your career journey at Drivers Direct?

Chrissie: When I first started working in the driving recruitment industry, I’d mainly be speaking to men every day and, in all honesty, I was a little nervous as it was very much a male- leading industry and I didn’t always receive the respect/ warmth I deserved. However, over the years I have pushed myself to show people what I know/ can do, and this has changed things for the better.

Zoe: I’ve learnt that if you invest time in good people you will always reap the rewards and sometimes employing people from different backgrounds and with different experience is the way forward, I’m also a great believer in creating opportunities for the right people

Jessica: When I joined Drivers Direct, the vision was to build a career and to step outside of my comfort zone. I soon discovered that I am more ambitious that I originally thought and have learned that I always want to push myself above what is expected of me. As a naturally passionate individual, I have learned how to deal with the frustrations of being unable to change something that is impossible and use those emotions to drive myself further than I thought possible when dealing with the next obstacle of the day.

 

  • How do you see the role of women in logistics in the future?

Chrissie: There are many more females working in the logistics industry and I can only see this increasing.

Zoe: I think there will continue to be more and more

Jessica: I see an increase in the number of women entering the logistics sector and have already noticed a gradual change over the last few years. When I first joined the company five years ago, 100% of both my drivers and client contacts were male. We now have a few female drivers who are amazing and would do anything for us which is really inspiring. The number of women in transport offices have also increased where more and more of our client contact are female, the majority entering high levels of management within the sector, which is incredibly empowering, even for me. It just shows that women really can do anything we set our minds to, we just need to have self-belief and courage.

 

  • Anything else you’d like to add?

Jessica: “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish” – Michelle Obama

 

 

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Christmas logistics

Christmas Logistics: Explained

Logistics is one of the fundamental factors in providing an enjoyable Christmas. In fact, without logistics, the festive period would probably look rather different. Behind everything that occurs around the Christmas period – including food, presents and decorations – is logistics.

Our drivers work tirelessly every year to ensure your Christmas Day is wonderful and full, and they don’t always get the recognition they truly deserve. Just to illustrate, it’s estimated that 4.7 billion miles are covered in the UK every year by drivers to deliver presents around the nation in time for Christmas. Adding to that, 2 billion miles are traveled every year just to ensure Christmas cards are delivered.

Every time you shop online, or post a parcel, there’s a lot of work that goes on behind-the-scenes to ensure its safe passing. Throughout this blog, we’ll discuss the logistics behind Christmas Day.

The Storing

Unfortunately, gifts don’t (always) come from the North Pole. They’re normally manufactured and then stored in warehouses until they’re prepared for delivery. It’s important to have a place to store these items in order to meet with supply and demand, which usually increases around the Christmas period.

The Transporting

Goods are then ordered by a business from the manufacturers, so that they can stock them and sell them over the festive period. When you hit ‘buy’ on an item on your smartphone or computer, there’s a reason it arrives so quickly… And that reason is reliable and effective delivery drivers. The exact kind that we recruit, here at Driver’s Direct…

The Delivery

Then comes possibly the most important step – the delivery. When you order online, your items can come as quickly as the next day. It’s something we often take for granted, as it seems so effortless. But there’s actually a lot of work that goes into ensuring your Christmas gifts are delivered promptly. From the packaging, to the delivery to your door – there’s a process that makes this as dynamic as possible. One of the most important cogs in the wheel are your delivery drivers. It takes a reliable company to ensure the 130 billion cards and parcels (give or take) circulate the UK during the festive period and successfully make it through your door.

Every step of the logistics behind Christmas process requires hard workers and sound strategy, executed by a trusty and reliable company. Here at Drivers Direct, we provide this kind of reliable service. Recruiting both permanent and temporary drivers into roles including LGV Drivers Class 1 and 2, Light Van Drivers, Fork-Lift Truck Delivers, 7.5 and 3.5 Tonne Drivers and more, our service means that the logistics process is streamlined.

 

Many don’t understand the sheer amount of work that goes into ensuring the delivery of your Christmas presents… Did you? Let us know what you think on Twitter.

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black friday logistics

The Impact of Black Friday on the Logistics Industry

Black Friday is, without doubt, the busiest day of the year for couriers, delivery drivers and retailers across the world, who are responsible for ensuring orders and deliveries run smoothly. This phenomenon has been a fixture in the UK retail calendar for the last six years with last year seeing over 60% of us take advantage of the hoards of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on offer, spending an average of £315 each! Consequently, these two days of intense shopping can be the most challenging for logistics companies due to the sheer number of orders that need to be processed and delivered as a result.

This year’s sales event will see around 30 million orders placed on Black Friday – 21 million of which will be delivered to customers’ homes – according to BearingPoint. This works out at around five times the normal daily volume, equating to an extra 210,000 van trips.

Despite not celebrating Thanksgiving, the UK has embraced this US shopping tradition in the last few years with Cyber Monday becoming one of the busiest online shopping days of the retail calendar, surpassing Black Friday. Consumers love the ability to compare prices, avoid crowds and get 24 hour access (sometimes longer) to the deals, ideal for those time-strapped shoppers. Last year, British shoppers spent over £7 billion during the Black Friday weekend and it’s predicted that 2019 will only get bigger.

Logistics companies need to be on top of potential issues they might come across during this holiday weekend. TNT surveyed UK businesses on their main concerns during these sales, finding that 27% were worried they didn’t have the right stock, 25% had concerns they were not be able to service their deliveries and 21% feared they wouldn’t have enough team members to handle the increased demand.

In the 2019 Logistics Report, it was reported that 15% of HGV driver vacancies are not being filled because of a skills shortage. With an ageing workforce and a lack of young entrants in the industry it’s no wonder that stats from the FTA report that only 1% of HGV drivers are under the age of 25, with the average age of a driver being about 53 years old. We talk about this more on our blog.

Troubles arise when planning for a period like this isn’t done in adequate depth. Companies need back up plans – and back up vehicles – in place for when the supply chain suffers delays that could potentially have disastrous knock-on effects for the rest of the weekend. To combat this, companies need to increase the size of their workforce to match the number of hands needed to manage the influx of orders. However, hiring staff can also put a strain on the supply chain as it is imperative that all new workers must be trained to do their job safely and efficiently, which takes a lot of planning and organisation.

Here at Drivers Direct, we specialise in the recruitment and placement of temporary and permanent drivers of all classes. Our team consists of Transport Professionals with decades of experience giving us the unique ability to supply many different types of vehicle; along with experienced, professional drivers, taken from our agency workforce. We also specialise in driver assessments and ongoing periodic training to meet the varying demands placed on organisations during the holiday season.

What do you think about Black Friday?  Let us know on Twitter.

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HGV Drivers: the Beating Heart of the UK Economy

HGV Drivers: the Beating Heart of the UK Economy

 

Could you imagine life without next day delivery? Logistics and professional drivers are the beating heart of the UK economy. According to the FTA, over 90% of everything the public eat, drink, wear and build with travels on an HGV at some point in the supply chain.

 

Logistics operators and HGV drivers are the heroes that keep our shops full, even whilst the industry faces a driver shortage and skills gap.  With Brexit looming, this is expected to worsen as restrictions will be put in place, affecting international workers in the UK.

 

In the 2019 Logistics Report, it was reported that 15% of HGV driver vacancies are not being filled because of a skills shortage; which poses the question: how much longer can we keep the hero status? With an ageing workforce and a lack of young entrants in the industry, it is now so important to change young people’s perceptions of a career in logistics. Stats from the FTA report that only 1% of HGV drivers are under the age of 25, with the average age of a driver being about 53 years old. In fact, 47% of all drivers are over 50 years of age.

 

Think Logistics, a volunteer-led programme sponsored by the FTA, promotes careers in logistics within schools and colleges.  They engage with students through workshops and presentations to explain what logistics is – also addressing any misconceptions about the sector.  Many kids have negative perceptions of the sector and this can have an adverse effect on attracting young people to logistics. However, we know that if the industry worked together, we could have more success highlighting the opportunities this sector has to offer.

 

The FTA has suggested the Government should reform the Apprenticeship Levy and replace it with a Training Levy – opening more doors for vocational training and workers, as well as ensuring the upskilling of the UK’s workforce.  At Drivers Direct, we fully support and are actively encouraging more young people into the industry – we provide training and assessments for our own drivers on behalf of our clients, as well as in-house training for other nationwide companies.

 

In schools there can be a cultured expectation and pressure on pupils to attend university -with a heavy focus on the importance of a degree.  However, there is not enough appreciation for the vocational subjects and professional driving jobs that have a hand in the success of the UK’s supply chain.  We feel the Government needs to use its voice and platform to raise awareness of the logistics industry.

 

It is vital now more than ever to have clarity on Brexit, to help EU HGV drivers who are facing uncertainty with their job positions in the UK.  If we want to continue to be the heroes that keep our shops full, we need to get young people interested in the industry whilst they are still at school and show them the career paths available to them aside from university.  We need to see a change in the statistics, so that we are no longer a part of an ageing workforce.

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Drivers Direct Logistics

Professional Driving Careers: Changing Young People’s Perceptions

 

It’s no secret that the logistics industry has become increasingly concerned over the issue of a drivers shortage in the UK.  With an ageing workforce, a dependence on EU workers and a lack of new entrants, it’s created a cause for concern – with logistics the beating heart of the country, it’s incredibly important to change young people’s perceptions of working as a professional driver.  Changing attitudes towards a career in logistics will fill the skills gap and alleviate the pressures on the sector and current workers.

 

The Freight Transport Association(FTA) is in its third year of sponsorship of Think Logistics, a volunteer-led programme that promotes careers in logistics within schools and colleges.  It engages with students through workshops and presentations to explain what logistics is all about – whilst also clearing up any misconceptions about the sector.

 

It’s a great step in the right direction for leaders in the industry to use their connections to trigger change.  In 2016 and 2017, the FTA exhibited at the Skills Show in Birmingham, an event which is visited by over 80,000 students, teachers and parents.  Through their work with organisations like Think Logistics, the FTA has been able to connect with young people and circulate materials that paint a picture of the industry – using case studies and bespoke career brochures.  With poor sector image being one of the reasons for bypassing a logistics career, it’s really important to highlight all of the opportunities across the sector, as well as within HGV driving.

 

A professional driving career is rewarding with the opportunity to plan your hours to suit your lifestyle – of course as long as delivery targets are met and the DVSA guidelines are met.  It’s guaranteed that you’ll meet new people every day, certainly a far cry from the misconception that it’s a lonely career.  HGV driving also gives you the opportunity to travel up and down the country and see new places and you’ll still have consistent contact with other employees at your base.

 

In its campaign for changing young people’s perceptions, the FTA are suggesting the Government should reform the Apprenticeship Levy to replace with a Training Levy – opening more doors for vocational training and workers, as well as ensuring the upskilling of the UK’s workforce. There’s also been encouragement for the Government to allow businesses to have a freer rein over what skills they require from apprenticeships, which in turn will support internal training.  As part of its campaign, the FTA have also called for the Government to use its voice to raise awareness of the logistics industry for job prospects to further support the efforts of industry leaders.

 

At Drivers Direct, we fully support this move to encourage more young people into the industry.  We provide trainingand assessments for our own drivers on behalf of our clients as well as in-house training for prestigious transport companies nationwide.  If you know a young person considering a career in logistics, be sure to point them in the direction of Think Logistics’ website, which has a breakdown of the various positions within transport.  To our fellow friends in the industry, if we all continue to work together and raise the profile of a career in logistics, we can make a difference.

 

 

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Drivers Direct MD Meets With Chris Grayling

Drivers Direct MD Meets With Chris Grayling

Our MD Gethin Roberts recently met with Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State Transport.  As a respected spokesperson within the industry, Gethin raised a number of subjects with Mr. Grayling to gain further knowledge on what is being done to support drivers, UK roads and the logistics sector as a whole.  The behind the scenes aspect of goods and products are often overlook, but professional drivers and our industry is the beating heart of the country.  This is why it’s so important to ensure the smooth-running of commercial road operations, whether it’s to do with road conditions, connectivity or opportunities for future drivers and the driver shortage.

 

Firstly, they discussed better ways that logistics companies could spend their apprenticeship levy in order to support the retention of drivers and assist with the driver shortage that is still very much a primary issue within the industry.  Gethin emphasised that a reduction in classroom-based training would be conducive for both companies and individuals who are looking to become professional drivers.  In place of this, more attention could be put on Licence Acquisition as it makes more sense for trainee HGV drivers to acquire more experience from inside a cab as opposed to inside a classroom.  Learning theory, is of course, important but putting it into practice straight away could add a stronger element of preparation for hauliers.

 

Roadworks on motorways were briefly touched on with Gethin enquiring about restrictions on the length and number of roadworks on any one motorway at any given time.  This was a point that Chris Grayling certainly agreed with, whilst being understanding that existing works would need to continue as planned.

 

As Gethin met with Chris at Crewe Train Station, they also discussed creating a dual carriageway between Crewe and Nantwich.  The A500 could be dualled from the M6 – J16 through to the first Crewe roundabout – creating better traffic flow.

 

The advantages of building a strong road infrastructure across the UK, East to West, are also recognised by Chris and his department and Gethin was informed that they are currently exploring a number of options to support this.

We hope to see some positive changes to UK roads and more importantly, a decrease in the current driver shortage.

 

Do you have any thoughts on the areas that Gethin covered with Chris Grayling?  Tweet us at @DriversDirect.

 

 

 

 

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